94-year-old Pine River woman hooks shark in Florida

Carol Schmidtbauer said the shark was her most exciting catch ever

Carol Schmidtbauer with photo of shark
While visiting her grandson in Cape Coral, Florida, on April 5, 2022, Pine River's Carol Schmidtbauer hooked a shark, something that most Minnesotans will only ever dream of.

PINE RIVER — For most of her life, 94-year-old Carol Schmidtbauer, of Pine River, has been an angler.

"We always went out fishing," Schmidtbauer said. " We never had a boat, but we caught fish."

In April, she had the chance to spend time away from Minnesota's persistent winter gloom on a trip to visit her grandson in Cape Coral, Florida. While there, they fished every day, and Schmidtbauer hooked into the catch of a lifetime.

"I can't explain how it made me feel," she said. "Lively. My grandson said I got a shark and that just didn't seem right."

After a long fight, Schmidtbauer said they spotted a several foot long gray shape in the water. Up until this time the boat had been landing more familiar fish.


"We were having a good time fishing. We got some trout," Schmidtbauer said. "And a lot of what we might call bullheads, but they called them catfish."

Carol Schmidtbauer with trout
Even in Florida, Pine River's Carol Schmidtbauer caught catfish and trout, as shown here. But nothing compared to her April 5, 2022, catch of a shark.

At that time they hadn't caught anything of real size. Then she reeled in the shark.

"We couldn't bring it out of the water," Schmidtbauer said. "They're protected."

I can't explain how it made me feel. Lively. My grandson said I got a shark and that just didn't seem right.
Carol Schmidtbauer

They got it right next to the boat and her grandson used a long device to follow the line into the shark's mouth, and with a twist the hook popped out and the shark swam away. To date, she said the shark was the biggest thing she ever caught and a feather in her cap.

Carol Schmidtbauer at Waffle House
Carol Schmidtbauer said while eating at a restaurant in Florida with her grandson in April 2022, he asked a server for a kids hat, and they obliged.

Schmidtbauer spent the whole week with her family in Florida. They fished every day. On the boat she said they watched dolphins and looked at manatees. When they weren't on the boat, she browsed the antiques.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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